Miss Terry Shopper and the Coles Debacle

It was late Monday night and I was sitting on the couch entertaining myself with my smart phone.  By ‘entertaining’ I mean a good Facebook stalk of my friends. It was at this point that two status updates caught my eye.

“Loving Coles Online; 4 slabs of coopers sparkling ales for $69 delivered”

“$135 for 4 slabs of James Squire golden ale and 4 slabs of Coopers Sparkling from Coles Online. Winner!”

I thought that I was missing out on some amazing promotion – but as I am not a beer drinker, I logged off Facebook and immediately forgot about it.

It wasn’t until yesterday when I was back on Facebook (I swear I am not an addict, okay maybe I am, just a little bit) and I found these same friends moaning about Coles Online backing out of these specials.

Apparently some customers received phone calls and others received emails explaining the situation.

“Two beer lines were inadvertently listed with the wrong price on our Coles Online website yesterday.  Unfortunately we will not be able to supply these lines at the earlier incorrect prices, and the correct price for these lines is now displayed on the website.”

Coles Online customers are in an uproar and Coles Online employees are working overtime to try and fix the error.

Take the time to think, what would you do if this happened in your online business. Would you act in the same manner as Coles Online and infuriate your customer by blatantly saying ‘no’ to a promotion that was your error?

How about the New Zealand Dick Smith site that was giving away the goods and customers only had to pay a small shipping fee. They apologised via twitter, but also did not honour the blunder.

Or would you follow in the footsteps of Ruslan Kogan who had an online blunder earlier this year which saw customers walk away with products well below cost price, to which he said “we believe the bug in our website was entirely our responsibility and as a result will be honouring every single purchase”.

3 thoughts on “Miss Terry Shopper and the Coles Debacle

    • Adrian
    • 16th November

    Interesting- I am pretty sure that the policy in-store if you pull them up on any item that scans incorrectly is to either give to you for the lower price, or to give to you for no charge as a goodwill gesture for the error.

    This has certainly happened to me at Woolworths, I would imagine that Coles woud do the same.

    Seems counter-productive to claw back after the event online when it is their mistake

    • Max
    • 16th November

    Coles is emailing customers that this was a “Tuesday evening pricing error”. The most significant missing detail is that this was not a “Tuesday night error” rectified by Coles Online in a timely manner. Coopers Sparkling Ale was advertised on Sunday with the limit of 4 cases per customer. Apart from the potential for this qualifying as bait advertising, at bare minimum Coles should be made to honour their prices which were available for over 2 days! Disgraceful effort, and emailing customers with a lie about it only happening on Tuesday night, makes it even worse. Cop it on the chin Coles and do what any good retailer would.

    • Scott
    • 23rd November

    Well, your contrast speaks volumes, doesn’t it? Our brain-dead local retailers try to claw back minimal profits on the basis of a mistake, and end up being complained about left,right and centre on a medium which allows bad news to travel at the speed of light.

    In contrast, Ruslan Kogan understands that customers expect things to work, and for them not to miss out if retailers make errors; in short, he gets the idea that customers will only “love you” if you give them reason to. He might make a short-term loss, but the contrast in the way Kogan dealt with the problem has generated both loyalty from customers and a positive feedback loop – again using the power of the Web.

    The sooner our dinosuarian retailers die out, the better.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

PowerRetail Extra Enewsletter